I was wondering whether anyone has any experience of or tips for using Say Something In resources with children. When (probably no longer if) my 7-year-old son’s school closes, I would like to use Say Something in Spanish to teach him. I am quite an experienced language teacher, as well as a Spanish speaker.
Any thoughts or tips would be appreciated (@aran, I would love to hear your thoughts, though appreciate you are probably swamped at the moment).
This is really a piece of work that we haven’t cracked yet - I started going in this direction a few years back, notching up a couple of volunteer years at my kids’ primary (free test subjects!) - where it became clear that there is some kind of a tipping point round about 7/8 (ish) in terms of how much kids move words around (the lego effect) in their first language. Prior to the tipping point, it seems to me as if most of their utterances are effectively single chunks, and they don’t have the same sense of play with our material… but even then, if it’s in small enough chunks, they can start to access it…
My guess would be that the actual SSiSpanish material would be a bit of a grind for a 7 year old… I’d recommend a slower, more micro approach - in fact, I’m doing something similar with Angharad and Beuno at the moment.
So you might start by building up to:
Quiero hablar espanol contigo ahora pero no puedo recordar lo que queria decir.
He’ll be able to do that fine - but it will be very inflexible for him initially. But if you then add:
Quieres jugar algo interestante conmigo hoy?
what you’ll have will be a core from which you can extract just five or six prompts each day/evening - and you’ll want to focus on moving quiero/quieres/queria around until he’s moving comfortably between the three of them - that will probably take a fair bit longer than you might expect - Angharad can nail both of those sentences with considerable ease, but still gets caught out on switching from quiero to queria…
I think it’s worth waiting until he can switch (at least fairly) comfortably between those three before adding more - and making it something very undemanding - so when he’s having fun, do five or ten or fifteen practice prompts (building up and back down again, always maximising the amount of edges between words that he’s exposed to) - but when he’s feeling a bit tired or grumbly, just do two or three prompts and leave it at that…
And when you think he’s ready to add a couple of extra sentences, ping me in here and I’ll let you know what I’ve reached with Angharad and Beuno…
I started trying a bit of SSi Spanish with the kids (B 7, A 9) on the way to & from swimming lessons in the car - they did really well with the first lesson, & cackled with glee at getting things right, but didn’t like doing it all orally & hated (a) making mistakes (they’re used to trying to get everything right in school, & mostly succeeding) and (b) feeling under so much time pressure (I couldn’t hit pause when driving).
Since lockdown we’ve been doing the standard SSi Spanish, which means that they can see the prompts, and I can pause when needed; but we’ve found a whole challenge just way too long for their attention span at the moment. So we’re doing each challenge in 15 minute chunks, where we backtrack to do 5 minutes of yesterday’s plus 10 more of new stuff, taking about 3-4 ‘bites’ at a full lesson.
So far, they’ve coped with sometimes making mistakes, and not pausing too often, and are very pleased to have reached the end of lesson 6 so far - so I promised them I’d post about their success on the Forum!